Student Complaints Against Postsecondary Institutions
The Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education is responsible for responding to formal complaints against public, independent non-profit, and most proprietary institutions of higher education that offer degrees in Nebraska. While the Commission has limited authority over colleges and universities, and cannot offer legal advice or initiate civil court cases, Commission staff will review submitted complaints and work with student complainants and institutions. Please note that the Commission cannot, by law, review complaints related to course grades, academic sanctions, or discipline/conduct matters.
> If a student has a complaint regarding a private postsecondary career school that is
overseen by the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE)-Private Postsecondary Career Schools,
he/she should contact NDE at (402) 471-4825 or through this online
> If a student believes that a college or university has violated state or federal law, he/she may wish to contact the Office of the Nebraska Attorney General (www.ago.ne.gov/consumer_protection):
Office of the Attorney General
2115 State Capitol
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2682
Fax: (402) 471-3297
Consumer Protection Division (toll-free): (800) 727-6432
Consumer Protection Division - En Espanol: (888) 850-7555
> If the student believes that an institution has acted in a discriminatory manner,
he/she may wish to contact the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission (NEOC)
(www.neoc.ne.gov) at (800) 642-6112 in Lincoln, (800) 382-7820 in Omaha, or (800) 830-8633 in
Scottsbluff. The NEOC provides the following advice:
Race discrimination in schools falls under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Sex discrimination and harassment falls under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Disability discrimination falls under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. None of these laws are within the
jurisdiction of the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission. They are federal laws and are
enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov):
Office for Civil Rights
Kansas City Office
U.S. Department of Education
8930 Ward Parkway, Suite 2037
Phone: (816) 268-0550
> Furthermore, after filing a complaint with the Attorney Generalís Office, NEOC, or the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, the student may still hire a private attorney and adjudicate the complaint through the court system.
Within two years of the incident about which the student is complaining, he/she should contact the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education using our complaint form. Please note that the Commission cannot, by law, review complaints related to course grades, academic sanctions, or discipline/conduct matters. Please follow the steps outlined below to submit a complaint:
If a student has concerns related to classroom situations or administrative actions, he/she should contact the faculty or staff member(s) with whom he/she has a conflict. It may be possible to resolve the concerns without the need for formal institutional action. If the studentís complaint is not resolved through this action, he/she should contact the department or program chair or division head or dean. If the studentís complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, or if the complaint cannot be resolved by contacting the faculty/ staff member(s) or chair/dean, the student should proceed to STEP 2.
The student should file a complaint through his/her institution of higher educationís established complaint process. Information on the process can usually be found in the institutionís academic catalog, student handbook, or website. This might also be called a grievance process. If the student is unable to resolve the complaint in this manner, he/she should proceed to STEP 3.
The student must complete the Commissionís Student Complaint Form. After receiving a complaint through our complaint form, Commission staff will review the submitted materials and contact the submitter for any required additional information or clarifications. The Commission will then send a copy of the complaint to the institution against which the complaint has been filed and ask for a response within three weeks. After receiving the college or universityís response, Commission staff will determine whether the institutionís student complaint process has been followed and exhausted and what additional steps or follow-up may be taken. The Commission will inform both parties involved in the complaint.
If the student has additional questions about the complaint process, or wants to clarify that the individual complaint is reviewable by the Commission, please feel free to contact the office at (402) 471-2847.